I was angry and frustrated at how things were. I’ve always been left leaning since I started to take an interest in the world, but had never developed a coherent set of ideas and solutions.
Before I found the party I had a deep admiration for intellectuals like Noam Chomsky and the likes of Tony Benn, and had long had an interest in the Cuban Revolution and Che Guevara. However, I was also influenced by more reformist, social democratic ideas. I guess you could characterise my views in early 2010 as well to the left of New Labour and mainstream politics, but not exactly revolutionary.
In the first months of 2010, I went on strike for the first time and spent two enjoyable mornings on the picket line outside my workplace. This was a real experience; the buzz I got from standing in solidarity with colleagues was amazing. I wasn’t involved in the union at this time, but had become interested and the strike only made me keener to get active. I also met an SP comrade who came to visit the picket line and read some of ‘The Socialist’ for the first time.
About a month later, I got my PCS NEC election booklet through the post. I had been thinking about joining a left group, and (not for the first time) had looked on the SWP’s website. However, one of the candidates said he was a member of the Socialist Party. So a few nights later, when I was having a few cans of beer in my room, I typed ‘UK Socialist Party’ into Google and found the website. I had quite a long read, and was struck by how clear the ideas were and how the party characterised the Soviet Union etc. I could really identify with parts of what they stood for, like taking the main parts of the economy into public ownership and running them under democratic control.
So I sent my details though requesting more info. I got a call two nights later from a comrade who has over the last couple of years (like quite a few others) become a really good friend. I went along to a meeting a week later and loved it. I also got the paper again and completely agreed with the positions that were being put across.
Two weeks later, just after the General Election, I joined. I became pretty active straight away.
The rest is history.